SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill that adds more chemical ingredients of ‘spice’ to the state’s definition of controlled substances. The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, said “This tightens up the spice bill one more time and I predict well be back next year adding some more.” It passed on second reading in the Senate this morning. … Continue reading»

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill that clarifies a person is justified in defending their home and family against criminal activity and may not be civilly liable for damage or injury to perpetrators. Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, said HB129 was “timely” given a home invasion in Springville early Thursday morning during which an intruder was shot and killed by the … Continue reading»

Motion picture and television actress Katherine Heigl is calling on the Utah Senate to defeat HB187, a measure that would criminalize the videotaping or photographing agriculture operations without the permission of owners. HB187 passed the Utah House and is before the Senate. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Mathis, R-Vernal, has said SB187 is intended to stop animal rights groups from recording footage of alleged animal abuse. Heigl, in … Continue reading»

Law would allow restaurants to sample wine, spirits

SALT LAKE CITY — Restaurants would be able to sample wine and spirits before buying them under a bill that cleared a Senate committee Wednesday. Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake, sponsor of SB119, said businesses should have that opportunity before purchasing beverages for their establishments and to determine what goes best with the food they serve. “It’s not about consumption because a wine sample cannot be swallowed,” he … Continue reading»

Herbert wanted lawmakers to toughen E-Verify

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert lamented that state lawmakers will not hear a bill this session to toughen the state’s E-Verify law. “I think that’s unfortunate for a lot of reasons,” he said Wednesday. GOP leaders said the Legislature wants to take a break from illegal immigration this year after passing a package of bills in 2011. The House Rules Committee, which sifts bills for consideration, … Continue reading»

Herbert to Obama: Let’s get flexible

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert met with President Barack Obama this week. His message to the commander-in-chief? Let’s get flexible. In Washington with the National Governor’s Association, Herbert joined other governors in a meeting with the president Monday. Herbert said he quoted from Obama’s own handouts that some of the best ideas come from states. Medicaid, the governor said, is one of the areas where Utah … Continue reading»

SALT LAKE CITY — In a move to preserve Utah’s status as one of two states that prohibit all forms of gambling, the Utah Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill to expressly prohibit internet gambling. HB108, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, was introduced as a means to exempt the state from pending federal legislation to legalize internet gambling. Presently, only Utah and Hawaii prohibit all … Continue reading»

Lawmakers shelve national popular vote proposal

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah won’t be joining a movement to elect the president of the United States by popular vote this year. The House Government Operations Committee put HB509 on hold Wednesday, but did recommend lawmakers study the idea over the summer. Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, said Utah has gone “far, far” from the original constitutional procedure to elect the president. “We have departed to something … Continue reading»

Lawmakers back task force to study returning veteran issues

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers may set up a task force to study reintegration issues facing returning military veterans. “Our servicemen and women love this country. They love it enough to put their lives on the line,” said Rep. Tim Cosgrove, D-Murray, sponsor of HB162. “When they come back to this country, we’ve got to have their backs.” The task force would study issues such as employment, … Continue reading»

Adoption notification bill moves to House

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would create a mechanism for an unmarried biological father to get receive notice of a pending adoption was endorsed by a House committee Tuesday afternoon. SB55, which passed in the Utah Senate, is not mandatory, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross. But the notification, which could be a certified letter from the mother, would notify the father of … Continue reading»